D1 Pro on a garden deck

Top 10 decking questions answered

Today we are going to be answering our top 10 decking questions to help assist you with the decision of installing a deck, or by offering advice for the care and maintenance should you already have one installed.

Installing and correctly maintaining a deck can be a great idea for many reasons. It creates a place to relax and entertain, an area for the kids to play, an area to install a hot tub etc. It can also increase the value of your property!

  1. Do I need planning permission to install a deck?
  2. How can I restore the colour of my deck?
  3. Can I use an Owatrol finish on top of another brand?
  4. Can I change the colour of my decking?
  5. How do I avoid a slippery deck?
  6. How do I ensure the wood is from a sustainable source?
  7. Are grooved timber boards less slippery than plain boards?
  8. How do I remove a previously failed coating?
  9. Should I use composite wood or hardwood for my deck?
  10. How long does decking last?

1) Do I need planning permission to install a deck?

men building a garden deck

You are not required by law to get planning permission to install a deck if:

  • The decking platform is no higher than 30 cm above the ground.
  • The decking structure covers an area that is no larger than 50% of the total garden space.

You may need to seek planning permission if these two criteria are not met and:

  • The decking will be attached to a listed building or if it is situated within a national park or conservation area.
  • If the structure would affect the value or privacy of neighbouring properties.
  • If any part of the deck construction exceeds 3 metres in height.

This advice is given as guidance only. Owatrol UK recommends checking with your local planning authority for the most accurate and up to date information.

2) How can I restore the colour of my deck?

If your deck is finished a product such as Textrol or Decking Paint, all you would need to do is clean the wood with a product such as Net-Trol and then apply a new coat on top.

If there is no finish applied, you can simply use Net-Trol to clean and brighten the wood back to its natural state. We do then recommend using some kind of finish on your wood to protect it from the weather, pollution and harmful UV rays.

If you have a composite deck, you can instead use a product such as Compo-Clean or Compo-Care to revive the colour and keep it in tip-top condition.

If you have not used an Owatrol product, you should check the maintenance procedure with the supplier of the other brand as it may differ to ours.

3) Can I use an Owatrol finish on top of another brand?

You will not be able to apply any Owatrol finish on top of another brand.

This is because all Owatrol finishes are saturating products, meaning they protect the wood from within and so without removal of the previous brand’s finish, our products will not be able to saturate into the wood. Your chosen finish would simply sit on the surface and eventually peel and flake off – something you will certainly want to avoid!

4) Can I change the colour of my decking?

If you have a timber deck then yes you can. For example, it is quite common for people to use paint to finish their deck and then a few years later decide that they would prefer a natural-looking deck instead. If you want to change the colour of your deck, as stated above, you would need to first remove the previous finish before applying a new one.

Please see question 8 below, ‘How do I remove a previous failed coating‘ for more information.

5) How do I avoid a slippery deck?

Antislip applied to pool decking

There are two things you can do to avoid a slippery deck:

  • Use a product that contains grit or beads such as Antislip.
  • Keep up regular cleaning maintenance throughout the year.

Antislip is great for all year round purposes and is ideal for use around areas that may be subjected to moisture such as around a pool or hot tub. However, it won’t be able to help keep against slipperiness without proper cleaning throughout the year.

To do this, we recommend giving your deck a sweep once a week or so to rid it of leaves, dirt and debris. However, even with regular sweeping, over time your deck will become dirty and so a spray down with a pressure washer every so often will help keep it clean.

If you fall behind on your cleaning duties and require a little helping hand, you could use a specific wood cleaning and brightening product such as Net-Trol.

6) How do I ensure the wood is from a sustainable source?

The best way to ensure the wood you wish to purchase is from a reliable source is to check directly with your supplier. They should be both FSC and PEFC certified. You can check this by going to the FSC and PEFC websites and entering the companies name into the search bar to see if they are certified.

7) Are grooved timber boards less slippery than plain boards?

grooved timber boards

Grooved timber boards are not necessarily less slippery than plain boards. They are mostly chosen for the ability of better drainage as the grooves allow rainwater to run off the boards easier. If this isn’t something you are worried about, then grooved boards are usually chosen purely for their aesthetics.

8) How do I remove a previously failed coating?

To remove a failed coating you would need to use a product such as Aquanett, Prepdeck, Dilunett or DSP 800. Which product you will use will depend on the previous finish:

  • Aquanett – strips out new, old and encrusted oils from exterior wooden surfaces.
  • Prepdeck – removes old solid and semi-transparent stains, finishes and unsightly grade stamps.
  • Dilunett – removes any oil and alkyd-based paint, varnish or wood stain.
  • DSP 800 – for removing single and 2-pack paints.

Once you have removed the previous finish, you will need to neutralise the wood with Net-Trol. This is an important step as it stops the active ingredient in the stripper from continuing to work.

Once you have done this and left the wood to dry, you can then apply your chosen Owatrol finish.

9) Should I use composite wood or hardwood for my deck?

Both composite wood and hardwood have pros and cons and so really this is something of personal preference. There are many things to consider such as your budget, the aesthetic you want, what you plan to use your deck for, the lifespan and maintenance of the deck and the environmental impact your deck will have.

Take a look at our previous blog post ‘Hardwood Decking Vs Composite Decking‘ for in-depth information on this question.

10) How long does decking last?

D1 Pro on a garden deck

Similarly to the question above, the longevity of your deck depends on several factors.

The main thing to consider when it comes to lifespan limitations for both hardwood and composite wood is having a deck frame that is subject to damage. By far the most common way for a frame to fail is from having poor drainage underneath the deck. This means it will eventually become water damaged and your deck will become dangerous and unusable.

However, there are many other things that will vary the life span of your deck such as maintenance, the environment it is in, the usage etc, so be sure to take all of these things into consideration.


We hope you found this post helpful. If you have any handy tips or advice, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below. We love hearing from you!

To keep up to date with our latest blog posts, why not follow us on social media? You can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @Owatroluk and with the hashtag #owatroluk

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Owatrol Team
About Owatrol Team

Our team are ready and willing to support you with your requirements whether it is protecting your newly laid deck or renovating a luxury yacht, whatever the application Owatrol has the solution you are looking for.

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